Free Speech Press Release

12.15.05

ACLU Victorious in Bush/Cheney Political Sign Case

HUDSON, OH– The Fifth District Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that an ordinance restricting the size of political signs in the City of Hudson was unconstitutional. The ACLU of Ohio brought the case on behalf of Karen Arshnikoff, whose husband Alex is Chairman of the Summit County GOP.

ACLU of Ohio Legal Director Jeff Gamso said, “We are pleased the court recognized the importance of political speech and the right of each person to freely express their views in public.”

The case originated on October 1, 2004 when the City of Hudson began fining Karen Arshnikoff $75 per day for violation of city law mandating that the total amount of temporary signage on the property not exceed eight square feet. The Arshnikoffs had a 4×8 foot Bush/Cheney campaign sign posted in their front yard, which exceeded the amount of signage they were allowed under the statute.

Karen Arshnikoff was ordered to appear in Cuyahoga Falls Municipal Court on October 20, 2004 and then appeared before Judge Kim Hoover on December 21, 2004. The ACLU of Ohio appealed Judge Hoover’s ruling against the Arshnikoff in that case, sending it to the Fifth District Court of Appeals.

Gamso added, “It is vital in any democracy to have unfettered political speech. By limiting the total amount of signage residents could have, the City of Hudson severely limited the political views which could be expressed by residents of the community to no more than the number that could comfortably fit in a limited space. Such limitations are completely contrary to our cherished rights to speak openly.”